Water Meter Leak
How To Easily Locate And Fix One

Finding a water meter leak is just as important as fixing one.

Water meter leaks not only waste valuable water but they cost a lot to repair, cause a reduction in revenue for water companies and defeats the purpose of water conservation plans .

On this page you will find information on how to use your water meter and find leaks in less than 30 minutes.

The first thing to do is find out the source of the leak. So let's go!

Steps To Finding A Water Meter leak

Locating a leaking water meter is very important because it is the first step to correcting the problem.

Let's now take a look at the easiest way to identify a leaking water meter .

  • Ensure that all your faucets, pipes and equipment that use water is off.

NB. Please ensure that all water appliances are off; otherwise, this water meter leak test will be inaccurate.

  • The second step is to find your water meter .It is usually covered by a water meter box. Remove the lid and lift the meter register cover. You are now looking on the register face.
  • On the register face is a small blue or black triangle called a leak detector. Some newly designed water meters carry flashing lights instead of a spinning indicator.

    • Now if the leak detector is spinning you have a leak. If there is no leak detector and the meter dial hand is spinning, then you have a leak. Proceed to the next step.
    • If the meter hand or leak detector is not spinning. Look at the register face and take a reading. Then wait for 25 to 30 minutes (at least). If the hand moves, then you have a slow leak. If not, there is no water meter leak.

    It is now time to locate the main shut off valve. The shut off valve is usually located close to the water meter or the main pipe outside your home.

    Turn off the shut off valve. Please ensure that it is completely turned off.

    To test if you have a problem with the shut off valve, turn on any faucet in your home..

    • Now if the water is still flowing then there is a problem with your shut off valve.
    • If no water flows through the pipe, then the shut off valve is working. Return to the meter.

    So we are now back to the meter face, now check if the meter’s leak detector hand is moving.

    • If the leak indicator or dial hand is still rotating, then water is flowing somewhere between the meter and the shut off valve. That means there is a leak between your water meter and your side of the shut off valve.

    • If the indicator is still, then most like there is a leak between your side of the shut off valve and possible somewhere in your house.
    •  Check all water using appliances such as toilets, washing machines, pipes, faucets and refrigerators for any sign of a leak.

    How Do You Know If The Water Meter Leak Is Your Responsibility?

    So after we have found the leak, it is now time to determine whose responsibility it is to fix the meter leak.

    Some water utility companies may take full responsibility for any water meter leak while some will take partial responsibility.

    Hopefully you won’t be in a situation where any type of leak that you encounter you will be held liable.

    There is no set rule but there is a general guideline that most people follow and that is:

    If the leak is inside your house, then you should call a plumber. It will be you or your landlord's responsibility to fix this. You should turn the water supply off at the main to prevent further damage.

    If the water is leaking from your side of the meter, then it is your responsibility. If the leak is from the other side of the meter (that is, where the water goes into the meter) then it should be the water utility company.

    Always keep your receipts for any repairs because some water companies will reimburse you in full or in part.

    At all times check for any leaks because overtime a small leak can cost you thousands in repairs .

    If it's your fault, don’t worry as yet. I have compiled a list of ways to fix small water leaks. If you suspect your water meter problem is too advanced for these steps then please call a professional.

    Fixing Faucets

    By far, the most common cause of leaks is a worn washer.

    Here is how to fix a washer on simple faucets:

    1. Shut off the water at the nearest shut-off valve or at the master valve.

    2. Loosen the cap nut by turning counter clockwise. Turn the faucet handle in the direction of opening until it comes off.

    3. Lift out the faucet assembly.

    4. Unscrew the brass set screw which holds the washer in place.

    5. Remove the old washer. Flush or wipe the cup clean.

    6. Select the proper size replacement washer and insert it. Then replace the setscrew.

    7. Replace the assembly. Turn the faucet handle as far as possible to close it. Then loosen handle slightly.

    8. Replace cap nut. Close the faucet. Turn on the water.

    Check your local hardware store. They have excellent brochures explaining how to fix different types of faucets.

    Toilet Leaks

    Toilet leaks are just as common as a worn washer. At one point in our lives we have heard ( or not), our toilets “running”. A toilet that overflows just two gallons every five minutes will waste 576 gallons per day or 17,280 gallons per month.

    • Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Wait 15 minutes (without flushing). If colored water appears in the bowl, you have a leak. The flush valve ball probably needs to be replaced.

    • If the flush valve ball is not worn, check to see whether it fits into the flush valve snugly. If this valve is corroded, clean it. Then, if the ball still will not seat properly, straighten the guide wire and make sure it is not catching anything. (Newer toilets have a chain and "stopper ball" instead of the guide wire and flush valve ball.) If it still leaks, replace the flush valve ball.

    • Sprinkle a small amount of talcum powder on top of the water in the tank. If this powder moves toward the overflow tube, you probably have an overflow leak. Gently bend the float arm down to shut off the valve before water spills into the tube.

    • If your toilet whistles, whines or will not shut off after adjusting the float ball, you may need a new ball cock assembly. Hardware and plumbing stores sell complete replacement or conservation kits with instructions.

    Here are some tips when fixing water leaks:

    • Try to fix it immediately because they can quickly develop into major problems.

    • Before you attempt to fix a minor leak turn off your shut valve

    • Wrapping a pipe is only temporary and it usually fails.

    • Try to tighten any fittings that leak with a tool such as a wrench. Be careful not to over- tighten the fittings.

    • Try to tighten any fittings that leak with a tool such as a wrench. Be careful not to over- tighten the fittings.

    • Check if your water meter was installed properly or the correct meter size fitted to the pipe.

    How To Conserve Water?

    Conserving water is very important. We already have limited supply of water on earth so the more we can save is the better.

    Most times we waste water and we don't even know it. But conserving water is beneficial to the environment and it can help us save a lot financially.

    Besides, it is so easy that it won't even take up your time. Below is a link to 100 Water conserving Tips!.

    Try to practice at least five (5) conservation tips per week and if possible, do more. Its best to get a hard copy.

    To make it interesting, have the whole family participate in the activity and the one who conserves water the best is rewarded. How does that sound? In the end, you are the one benefiting.

    So always remember to:

    • Check for your water meter leak
    • Report water meter leaks
    • Know who is responsible and fix simple water meter leaks
    • Conserve water at home and on the road
    Sources H2ouse.org City data Forum

    Do you have any more questions to ask about water meter leaks? Send go over to our Q & A section of our website.

    See also:

    Water meter accuracy

    Water meter problems

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